DVD Review: Rambo
I finally got the chance to see Rambo when it came through my Netflix this week. Hearing that Julie "Darla" Benz was in it, and also knowing how much I loved First Blood, I had to check this out. It definitely exceeded my expectations, especially considering how each film in the series has gotten worse and worse. This one went back to what made First Blood interesting in the first place….the grittyness of it.
One thing you should know going into it is that Rambo is NOT for anyone under 14. Normally, I would say many R-rated films aren't really all that bad for kids, but this one is a pretty damn hard "R". During the war zone scenes, there are body parts flying and blood all over the place. Sylvester Stallone directed it, and as he says in the featurettes, he wanted to be as life-like as possible; going so far as to say that he shot it as though the audience would be viewing it through John Rambo's eyes. That's how it feels, and it makes the film that much more interesting.
Julie Benz plays Sarah, who works as a missionary of sorts with a group of folks. She has quite a few lines through the beginning of the movie, but as you would expect towards the end, she's screaming and running for her life. Still, her role is significant, probably the second most important part in it.
The DVD itself is packed with featurettes and an audio commentary from Sly. It's pretty good, especially for the one-disc I got. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, and even a segment on the reaction to the film. Very cool stuff that you don't see enough of on dvd (even some "special editions" out there).
There's a lot of violence in the Rambo films, but you should already know that before you rent or purchase it. It's an action film with an extremely serious tone that I can't really call "fun", but I couldn't look away from it. There's an underlying political message to it that can't be shoved off in the corner while trying to dig all the action.
It received a mixed reaction from critics, but I personally think it's the best one since First Blood (of course that's not saying much). Sure, there are some goofy parts to it (mercenaries with names like School Boy and stereotypical names like Perez), but it's still a compelling, ultra-gorey, entertaining flick.
3.5 out of 5